Meet the Instructors
The work of the Council of Youth Research could not be so successful without the support and guidance of instructors.
Nicole Mirra – Program Coordinator
Nicole is the program coordinator for the Council of Youth Research. Previously, Nicole taught 11th- and 12th-grade English at ACORN Community High School in Brooklyn, New York, where she helped students to connect the study of literature to social critique. She is currently in her second year as a doctoral student in the Urban Schooling program in the UCLA School of Education. Her research interests include civic engagement and critical literacy.
Frederick R. David, Instructor at Crenshaw High School
Frederick is a Social Studies teacher at Crenshaw High School. He proudly matriculated through the tiers of California’s Master Plan of Education and is an alumnus of City College of San Francisco, San Francisco State University and University of California, Los Angeles.
Arlene Ford, Graduate Student Researcher
Arlene is honored to participate in the Council of Youth Research,
in particular to work with Laurence Tan and the five youth members of
the Locke student group. Prior to her recent move, she was actively
involved in education-related community work in Brooklyn, New York. She
currently works with youth through her Church in South Los Angeles and
is enrolled in UCLA’s Ph.D program in Urban Schooling.
Antero Garcia, Graduate Student Researcher
Antero Garcia is an English and ESL teacher at Manual Arts High School. He has served as a member of the School Site Council, a Lead Teacher for the School of Communication and Global Awareness Small Learning Communication, and has mentored student teachers in the UCLA and USC teacher preparation programs. Additionally, he has served on the school's grant writing team, editing the school's QEIA grant proposal as well as received numerous grants for personal instruction. Concurrently a doctoral student in the Urban Schooling division of UCLA's Graduate School of Education, Antero has presented at numerous professional conferences and published several articles about his research within his classroom.
Veronica Garcia, Instructor at Woodrow Wilson High School
Veronica is an English and AVID teacher at Woodrow Wilson High School. She is also a graduate of UCLA and Harvard School of Education. She has worked with youth over the past nine years in afterschool programs, tutoring, mentoring, and college preparation. She has also supported and engaged youth in critical research methods in both Boston, MA and Los Angeles, CA.
Monique Lane, Graduate Student Researcher
Monique is in her second year as a Doctoral student in the Urban Schooling Division of UCLA’s Department of Education. Her concentration on the academic achievement and cultural empowerment of African American female students derives from her former experiences as both a student and a teacher at Crenshaw High School, located in South Los Angeles. Monique’s experience working with the Council of Youth Research has afforded her the opportunity to be a part of a transformative intellectual community that will further provide her with a reflective space to engage in critical educational research.
Eddie Lopez, Instructor at Roosevelt High School
Eddie is a first generation Mexican-American/Chicano who grew up in Montebello, on the outskirts of East Los Angeles. He received a B.A. in History and a minor in Political Science from UCLA. He also received his masters in Education at UCLA from the Graduate School of Education. He is currently in his fourth year of teaching at Roosevelt High School. He is the Social Studies Department Chair.
Carlos Mejia, Undergraduate Student Researcher
Carlos Mejia is a freshman at UCLA who is currently pursuing a major in the social science department to pursue a career in counseling youth in underprivileged communities, in particular the Watts area. Being a first-generation student, he hopes to be a role model for his seven younger siblings, his sister and six cousins, and prove how an underprivileged individual can make a difference to better his community. Continuing to work closely with Laurence Tan and other youth, he is a proud member of the Watts Youth Collective (WYC) and has, on numerous occasions, traveled to many conferences to present the work the organization has put into reshaping people’s perspective on the urban intellectual. Feeling very passionate about presenting underprivileged youth with the idea of furthering their education is the motivation and determination he has to never give up on himself or others. ¡Hasta la muerte!
Katie Rainge-Briggs, Instructor at Manual Arts High School
Katie teaches World History at Manual Arts High School, where she teaches more than a series of dates and facts but rather the human story. Further, she teaches students that they are integral parts of this story and that "the world that you need to live in needs you to create it... the last word has not been spoken."
D’Artagnan Scorza, Graduate Student Researcher
D'Artagnan received his bachelor's degree in the study of religion from UCLA and is currently a graduate student at UCLA working on his Ph.D. in education. As an undergraduate at UCLA, he was active in several community service projects, which included serving as a mentor at the Student Retention Center and as a student representative on the Chancellor's Enrollment Advisory Committee. While an undergraduate, his education was interrupted after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, when he joined the U.S. Navy and served in Iraq. There he was responsible for personnel records and communications management activities. Scorza is the student Regent for one year, July 1, 2008 through June 30, 2009.
Laurence Tan, Instructor with Locke High School
Laurence is a full-time teacher and learner at 122nd Street Elementary School and the coordinator at Locke High School. Drawing upon his experiences as an immigrant growing up by the border in San Diego, he works with youth and families toward social change and community building. Involved in many community and justice-based grassroots organizations, Laurence is currently most invested and proud of his work with his former 5th grade students in their formation of the Watts Youth Collective (WYC), as they organize themselves towards positively building themselves and changing their Watts community.